Our fifth wheel and the truck

Friday, June 29, 2012

From Dawson City across the Top of the World to Chicken!

Hi again and a very warm welcome to any new readers. I certainly hope you enjoy reading my blog and get a smile, or a bit of a giggle, out of our adventures or misadventures as the case may be!!

Dawson City is amazing!!!!

But to start at the beginning. We arrived about lunch time and after getting the rv set up Norm and I decided to go down town to get a bite to eat and go to the visitor centre to find out some of the attractions in and around town.

Lunch was at Sourdough Joe’s and was just alright. After we finished we decided to grab an ice-cream which was just yummy - Black Cherry. Although it was wonderful, ice-cream is not a good idea if you are lactose intolerant!!!

Our visit to the information centre proved extremely valuable because there is just so much to see in Dawson City we could see that we were going to need more than 2 days to see it all! Plus we are going to be here for the summer solstice!!!!

Dawson City was established in the late 1800’s when gold was first discovered in the area. Life was pretty tough as you can imagine. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police certainly made sure that only those who were really prepared for the harsh conditions actually made it to Dawson City with the proviso that everyone had to have at least a year’s supplies before they were permitted to make the long trek over the Chilkoot trail. Some people had to make multiple climbs just to get all their stuff over the trail. Many people didn’t make it the climb was so tough. Mary Black, who went on to become the ‘First Lady of the Yukon’ and a eventually a member of parliament, actually crossed the Chilkoot trail when she was 4-5 months pregnant - so much for all the tough fellows who didn’t make it!!!

An example of the old buildings being maintained in Dawson City.

While in DC we took a walking tour of the town with our guide dressed in period costume. We were told about some of the strange things that go on under the Midnight Sun.

Our walking tour guide in period dress.

One of the strangest is the ‘Sour toe Cocktail’ which requires you to drink a cocktail that has an actual, real human toe in it!! In order to join the thousands of other drinkers who have successfully participated in this ritual, you have to let the tow ‘kiss’ your lips!!! Now let me tell you that this, and the ‘Dog Ball Highball’ cocktail, is one ritual in which I will not be participating!!!!! Apparently the custom began way back when a miner discovered a toe in a jar in a cabin and took it to the bar and I am sure it then became a bit of a dare game and has continued since.

Amazing old buildings throughout the town.

We also toured the SS Keno which was the last stern wheeler to travel the Yukon River. She is in dry dock now and is really interesting to visit. I wouldn’t want the job of keeping the fires going for the steam - four foot logs day and night being heaved into the furnace.

A tour of one of the mining dredges was also on the itinerary. What a huge piece of machinery! And the damage these machines did to the environment is still very evident throughout the area with huge caterpillar type piles of rocks and stones everywhere they have been.

The old dredge - the white cover is where they are doing some repairs to the deck.

The caterpillar type piles of tailings that are everywhere around Dawson City.

A trip to DC is incomplete without a visit to Diamond Gerties’ Dance Hall. Singing and dancing reminiscent of the early 1900’s with a chorus line. A lot of fun, although I think Jim had the best time with Gertie serenading him.

Diamond Gertie and her dancers.

On the evening of 20th June Jim, Steve, Nancy, Norm and I went up to the ‘Dome’ where we spent a couple of hours watching the sun go down at about 12.30am. There were quite a few people up there and the photos were absolutely stunning. The sun didn’t actually ‘go down’ it was sort of going sideways and went behind the Ogilvy Mountains only to reappear a while later. We watched it disappear and then decided it was time to head off to bed.

On the Dome for the night before the solstice.

This photo was at about 11.30pm.

At 12.30 the sun moves behind the mountains.  But was up again in an hour or two!

I thoroughly enjoyed DC and was so pleased that they have worked so hard to retain the history and presence of the past. Buildings are maintained in the style of old, and new buildings have very strict guidelines on materials and design so they replicate and maintain the character of previous times. With the exception of the main road, all the roads are dirt and the sidewalks are boards. I am sure that this must save money on road and sidewalk repairs (no frost heaves each winter).

But alas, as always our time is limited and it was time to move out. Our destination was

Chicken in Alaska but to get there we had to take a ferry across the Yukon River and drive the ’Top of the World Highway’.

That's our rig on the left of the ferry.

This was a stunning and wonderful day. We were packed up and ready to roll at 6.30am and headed straight down the highway to the ferry. Two rigs at a time we crossed the river and then THE highway. Well it was an interesting drive. The scenery was just magnificent and mind boggling and the views just went on forever.

The view from the Top of The World Highway - it goes on forever!!!

The Canadian side of the highway was marginally better than the US side although there were potholes and gravel all the way. It was only 108 miles and while we did make a couple of short stops and a stop at the border crossing it took us six and a half hours to make the trip. Very slow going but oh so worth it! Norm now has a t shirt that says he survived the ‘Top of the World Highway’!

We spent two nights at Chicken which was an interesting place - full of chicken ‘stuff’. We did take a walking tour of the old town site with a very knowledgeable young lady who explained much of the history. I was particularly interested in the story of ‘Tisha’ (mispronunciation of ‘teacher’) who arrived in Chicken as a young teacher from Colorado. I have bought the book telling her story so I have my nose stuck in that whenever I can.

Yep - a giant chicken in Chicken, Alaska!

Sadly we have had to say a temporary farewell to Steve and Nancy who have had to head home for family. Our thoughts and prayers go with them. See you soon.

From Chicken we are headed down the road to Tok for a stop at Sourdough RV. Their pancakes are legendary however if I don’t stop here this post is going to be tooooo long - again!

So I will leave you here and continue with our adventures in a couple of days. To all our family and friends we send our love and hugs as always.



  1. Hi Paula, we will be in this area in August so our paths may cross somewhere along the trek. We are enjoying following your blog and look forward to sharing the same experience. Enjoy the rest of your trip. Sandy

  2. Hi Paula, we will also be in this area in August (same convoy as Jim and Sandy). I'm really enjoying your blog entries and the photos. Safe Travels! Joy

  3. Thank you ladies. I hope you are packing some warm clothes or at least planning on buying some before you leave the Lower 48. It has been particularly cold just about everywhere we have been so far. I think I have worn shorts about four times! Look forward to maybe catching you along the way.